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With the Stimmt Workshop Toolkit you receive knowledge for excellent Workshops, inspired from 1500 given workshops and 15 years consultancy experience. Improve you technics, methods and time management.
Construction Plan & Tools
for World Class Workshops
15 years of Stimmt, 1500 workshops:
Our knowledge as a gift to you
advice for successful
out for stumb-
Methods: We let
you borrow from
We look back to 15 years of Stimmt! Today we help organizations to
differentiate themselves through positive customer experience. It all
began 1998 when we did usability projects for websites.
The following never changed:
Customer focus: Your customers at the center of attention
We base our recommendations on the insights gained on your custo-
mers and other stakeholders in order to satisfy everyone‘s goals and
Interactivity: «Stimmt works with you, others for you», a client
We very strongly involve you in our project work to ensure the results
take hold in your organization.
Workshops: One of our most important tools
Workshops are effective and lead to widely accepted solutions. In
over 1500 workshops we were able to see this happen. At the end of
this toolkit we show you some examples of where our workshops had
With this workshop toolkit we share our knowledge and expertise from
15 years of consulting experience to help you lead great workshops
when we aren‘t around. If you are stuck or need to tackle more com-
plex problems, our customer experience experts (contact information
on the back) love to help you out.
Enjoy exploring our toolkit! We wish you a successful application and
many effective workshops!
Stimmt AG | Customer experience consultants | Zürich | www.stimmt.ch | email@example.com
Illustrations by Roland Siegenthaler | echtpraktisch.ch
Get to know each other. Introduce participants
to the workshop agenda and goals.
What is a workshop and when is it
appropriate to hold one?
What do you have to consider
when facilitating a workshop?
What do you need to do
before the workshop?
What can you do if something
The workshop is over.
How to document con-
tent or results visually?
Gather participants’ expectations and create
Explain the challenge and foster equal understan-
ding among participants.
Let participants jointly explore the challenge,
present and evaluate solutions.
As a group, decide upon the next steps and assign
further tasks. Ask for participant feedback.
In a workshop a group of people work on a specific topic. This
means there is active participation, interaction and hands on
exercises involved. A facilitator guides participants towards
the goal, which often is about problem-solving or idea gene-
A great workshop has a clear goal that is achieved in
a specific amount of time, is well structured and has a
creative atmosphere in which people are constructive
But keep in mind that a workshop is not always the right
approach to solve problems. Consider if you can answer
the following questions with „yes“:
On the following pages we tell you how to plan and hold
a great workshop.
Do you have a challenge that can be worked on and
can your participants actually contribute something?
(If not, you should rather hold a meeting to discuss your
challenge or a presentation to inform the audience
Is a group setting the right environment in which to
solve your problem? (Or should you rather discuss the
issue one on one?)
A workshop or not?
You want the
to feel that
your workshop is worth
their time. 0ne easy
way to do this is to
documenting all the
results being achieved
throughout the course
of the workshop on
flipcharts and hang
them up so everyone can
A B The facilitator
In order to run a great workshop, good planning and a skilled
facilitator are vital. As a facilitator, quality and success of a
workshop depend on you.
Structure: You choose methods, structure the workshop,
keep track of time and ensure that the overall goals are
Group dynamics: You create a productive atmosphere,
solve conflicts and use each participants’ unique potential
to create a synergistic working environment.
Flexibility: Structure your workshop well, but be open to
react to the participants spontaneous needs and make
changes if necessary.
Neutrality: Your job is to nudge people to come up with
their own input or ideas. Don’t participate, judge or try to
„help“ participants come to any specific conclusions. Con-
tributing your ideas may undermine your authority as a
facilitator because participants are suddenly allowed to
criticize your input as a participant, leaving you vulnerable
to them later on criticizing you as a facilitator.
If you can’t
input, do so explicitly,
by saying you are now
changing your role for
a moment or by chan-
ging your position in the
You can also bring ano-
ther person with you:
0ne of you gives content
input and the other one
If there are
going on at once,
you should bring a dif-
ferent facilitator for
each. This ensures that
participants are taken
care of at all times and
that you don‘t have to
interrupt the flow of
more time than
you think. Plan well
ahead – calculate at
least one day to prepa-
re a one day workshop.
In the preparation phase you plan your workshop, prepare materials,
invite participants and organize everything.
Start by asking yourself what you want to achieve with this
workshop. Only if you have a clear goal in mind can you
go about figuring out what is necessary. Some examples:
Know your participants! What are their individual goals?
What is their state of knowledge? What are their respecti-
ve experiences with workshops? Who is supportive of your
„cause“ and who is sceptical?
In a workshop with senior level management, you will want
to come to quick decisions, while with project members
there might be more discussions.
When you inform participants about the workshop, those
are the things you should consider:
Expectations: Let participants know the purpose and
goal of the workshop and what is expected of them. Send
out the workshop agenda.
Key players: Tell key participants that their presence is
important to the success of the workshop and explain why
this is the case.
Homework: If you want participants to read material in ad-
vance or prepare something, let them know early enough
and formulate tasks clearly to avoid misunderstandings.
Define the goal
Develop three scenarios for the future of e-banking.
Evolve the different business model options for my star-
tup and decide which one to pursue.
Get participants to understand and apply the key
concepts of social media communication.
If you don’t
know the at-
cipants, ask at the be-
ginning of the workshop
about their expecta-
tions, background and
experience level. This will
help you better organi-
ze the group.
do their pre-
put their names on
the agenda and send it
to them – even if the
tasks are only small,
this helps to get com-
mitment. In this case it
is a good idea to even
indicate the speci-
fic time they will be
Use Blu-Tak to
hang up flip-
charts on walls
and to easily remove
them again. Blu-Tak is
better than tape and
better than competi-
tors. So stock up!
Test all tech-
Book a room
for at least
double the num-
ber of participants you
actually have to make
sure you have enough
space. And if necessa-
ry, make use of outside
areas such as gardens,
hallways, foyers, cafe-
Know your location! You don’t want a room that is too dark,
small, hot or cold. Visit it before the workshop or make inqui-
ries. On the day of the workshop arrive at least 30 minutes
before the workshop to prepare yourself, hang up material,
set up the room and get ready.
Preparing the right materials is key to a successful work-
shop. Inquire which equipment is available at your loca-
tion. Consider organizing:
Think about what will happen after the workshop. In which
format will you need to document the workshop and its re-
sults? (Written protocol? Photo? Video?) Will someone help
you document during the workshop?
Material and equipment
Room organization: Is it suitable for your purpose and
for your group size? How far in advance can you arrive to
prepare the room? Will participants be able to find it? Can
they easily enter the building or room or is there a security
system in place?
Room setup: Do you need tables for group work? Do you
need space for participants to move around in the room?
Information materials: Print out any materials well in ad-
vance. Bring spare copies.
Workshop materials: Will you need flip charts? Paper?
Post-it notes in different colours? Felt markers? Dot stickers?
Technical equipment: Will you need cameras? Recorders?
Loudspeakers? Projector? Power cables? Adapters? Remo-
te control? Remember to test all technical equipment in
advance! Bring spare batteries.
Drinks & snacks: If your workshop lasts several hours, you
should offer basic catering like water, coffee and snacks.
To save time in
workshop kits for each
participant, with for
example their informa-
tion materials, a bunch
of Post-it notes, a pen
and the exact amount
of dot stickers they will
The agenda is an important instrument to keep your work-
shop structured and your participants informed.
Put your agenda on a flipchart that is always visible du-
ring the workshop and use Post-its for the times and the
content! This allows you to stay flexible and make changes
To prepare your workshop’s agenda it helps to consider
the following time management tips:
If you have to
nicate changes clearly,
give your reasons for
them and get the ag-
reement of the parti-
your own like
a script with exact
timing, instructions and
optional content. Make
the one for partici-
pants a broad outline,
just specific enough to
make them feel com-
fortable. This allows you
to be flexible without
having to justify every
change you make.
Plan time generously and flexibly. Think about which
optional topics you could add or leave out depen-
ding on the time available.
Don’t guess, calculate! If 10 participants have 5 minu-
tes each to present their ideas, it will take 50 minutes
pure presentation time. To this you should add another
20 minutes for the introduction and the changeover
Don‘t forget the breaks. If participants know there are
breaks, they will concentrate more on the workshop and
postpone reading e-mails or making phone calls. Sche-
dule 5-10 minutes every 1.5 hours. Don’t be surprised
that it takes an additional 5-10 minutes until everyone
is back and ready to continue.
To save time you can split participants up to work
simultaneously in different groups (remember to plan a
time slot where the results can be shared). Or you can
let participants prepare something in advance.
Bring a watch to keep track of time. You may also pro-
ject the time on the wall so everyone can see it and
there are no surprises.
Even if you are
always ask someone for
feedback on your agenda!
Test all the technical
equipment in advance and
practice for example
how you explain a task
or a method.
An agenda at Stimmt usually looks something like this:
Your workshop‘s goal
Title of the
Date of the
Introduce yourself and explain your role. Do the same
for any other important or special participants. Then let
participants get to know each other. If you want to be
a bit more creative than just letting them tell their name
and professional information, consider an introduction
exercise such as Introduction bingo, Character map
or Chartoon character. Those are all great ice brea-
Tell participants the context of the workshop, who ini-
tiated it, why they are here, what you want to achieve
together and how you will go about it. Ask them if they
agree with your agenda or if they would like to change
To avoid straying from your goal, think about how you
want to deal with distracting topics. One possibility is
to introduce a Parking space for open issues.
If you want to introduce some rules (for example: don’t
judge other peoples ideas, don’t use jargon, don’t use
laptops or smartphones during the workshop), do so
sparingly or you will appear patronizing. Think about
who makes sure the rules are followed and what hap-
pens if someone breaks a rule.
Goal & agenda
Be there early
to greet par-
they arrive. Try to
mingle with them - this
helps everyone to get
to know you and feel
comfortable. And it
gives you the chance to
feel the mood of your
The worst thing
to feel disoriented. They
will doubt the purpose
of the workshop and
lose motivation. So put
the goal and the agen-
da up in the room and
make sure it is always
visible (don’t just put it
on the projector once).
Refer back to the
agenda, if you move to
the next item.
Let participants position
themselves according to cer-
tain criteria. Ask them to build groups
(people with the same hair colour,
people who like red/green/yellow app-
les, people with 0/1/2/3/... children,
people with/without pet animals,...) or
to form a line (alphabetically, body size,
age,...). “Play” for 5-10 minutes.
Parking space for open issues
Prepare a flipchart to record
any topics that go beyond the
scope of this workshop. In this way, you
are able to continue with the work-
shop and at the same time no partici-
pant feels overlooked.
Prepare a Bingo form with
8-12 questions that begin
with “Find someone who...” (for examp-
le: ...has the same pet as you, ...speaks
a language you don’t speak, ...drives a
Toyota) Hand out the form to par-
ticipants, ask them to mingle and find
the people who fit the questions. The
participant who answeres all the ques-
tions first “wins” and the game ends.
This is a more classical intro-
duction method: Instead of
just giving their name and background -
participants should choose one car-
toon character and explain what they
have in common with it (“I am a Jerry
of Tom&Jerry because I’m small, but
also very sweet and smart.”). This also
works with childhood heroes, fairytale
characters or super powers.
Before you start, it is important to get participants expec-
tations in line with the workshop goals. Tell them what you
expect of them, but also collect their expectations for this
workshop in a Go-around.
If you have pulled the participants right out of their daily
routine they will need a little shake-up before they are
able to work productively. You can consider a physi-
cal warm-up exercise or a mental one such as Warm-up
brainstorming or 0bject purpose brainstorming.
The right mood
tiring and don’t
contribute to a pro-
ductive and collabora-
tive atmosphere. Keep
any inputs as short as
possible – you don’t
want participants to
fall asleep. If it hap-
pens anyway, use another
warm-up exercise to
wake them up.
Even if the
cise seems silly
and unnecessary to you
- if you expect creati-
vity to „happen“ in the
workshop you shouldn‘t
skip the warm-up. It is
It may be necessary to present a topic or to collect input
from participants in order to make everyone understand
the problem that needs to be solved in the workshop. It is
helpful to visualize all input information on a flip.
Projectors are evil (not always, but for a workshop this is
usually true). If you evolve your key point on a flipchart
instead, you will engage the audience more. Compared to
projected slides the flipchart will stay and your audience
won’t lose the context. You will look competent.
Projector vs. flip
Gather in front of a flip-
chart and pass around a simple object
such as a credit card, coat hanger
or cup. Ask participants to menti-
on things that can be done with this
object and write down the answers.
After the obvious purpose (credit
card is used to pay) participants need
to become really creative (cut car-
rots, clean fingernails...). Continue for
5 minutes or until you have found 30
Ask each participant in turn
to explain his or her expecta-
tions in one sentence. This way you can
react if they don’t match your own. As
a side effect, with this method eve-
ryone gets the chance to speak (but
don’t force anyone).
All you need for this little
exercise is a flipchart, a pen
and an engaging question for partici-
pants to brainstorm on, such as:
What can we do to get every Monday
How can we achieve a Cabriolet experi-
ence in a closed car?
How can we achieve a Harley Davidson
feeling on a chair?
Let participants shout out their
answers and write them down on the
flip. Go on for 5 minutes.
Your job as a facilitator is to ask the right questions to gui-
de participants towards the solution. There are a couple
of ways to facilitate a discussion:
If you want the participants to quickly contribute their
ideas or input, Brainstorming may be the right method.
Remember: Brainstorming aims for quantity, not quality.
If participants have come up with many different ideas or
solutions, you will need to prioritize. One very simple way
to do this is with a Dot sticker evaluation. These also work
in discussions to reach consensus.
Have a look at
tion to find out what
you can do if a discussion
runs out of control.
It can be hard to work on a problem in a group of ten
or more people. To be effective, split participants up into
groups of three to four people and follow this advice:
Be flexible with
your timing now
– if creative
ideas are flowing, don’t
insist on taking a break
just because the agenda
To stimulate a
can ask for:
fears, hopes, wishes,
goals, advantages, dis-
ties, solutions, measures,
Ask open questions in the beginning („What do you
think?“) and closed questions towards the end („So, do
we go with idea one or two?“).
Summarize and paraphrase complicated inputs.
Relate the inputs of different participants with each
other or with the wider context of the discussion.
Visualize inputs on Post-its.
Give participants clear instructions and a time frame.
Let them know how they are expected to document or
present their results later. Consider giving them a temp-
late for the result, such as the Idea poster.
Visit each group while they are working and support
them if necessary. Let them know when they have five
minutes left and again when they have one minute left.
Formulate a very clear, simple
question and ask all partici-
pants to share their ideas. You (or an
assigned recorder) write every state-
ment on a Post-it and put it up on a
flip. Don’t allow discussions and judge-
ment of ideas. Let participants build
on the ideas of others.
Dot sticker evaluation
Give 3-5 dot stickers to each
participant and ask them to
stick them on the ideas they like most.
You can also let them rate along a
certain evaluation criteria or you can
use green and red dots to mark “top”
and “flop” ideas. If you don’t want par-
ticipants to influence each other, make
the rating anonymous: Number the
options and have people put the chosen
number on the dot before sticking
them on the option.
Equip groups with a flip-
chart, Post-it notes and pens.
Prepare a sample poster with the
structure you want participants to
use for idea presentation. This ensures
every group answers the same questi-
ons. Furthermore, if the form is given,
the groups will really concentrate on
the content. The poster could contain
the following elements: A catchy title,
a visualization of the idea, benefits and
risks of the idea, suggestions for imple-
mentation or next steps,...
Your participants have worked on a topic for some time
now. They will be interested to know what you are going to
do with the results and what the next steps will be.
You might want to receive feedback on two levels in order
to learn for future workshops.
Thank the participants for their contribution and say
goodbye. If you would like to capture the mood and satis-
faction of the participants, consider letting them fill out a
quick Mood barometer on their way out. You could also
ask them to leave their e-mail address for follow-ups etc.
at the exit.
I like, I wish
pants to write
down their feedback
statements on Post-its
in the form of “I like…”
and “I wish…”. This ensu-
res that participants
about what they would
have wished for instead
of what they didn’t like.
Alternatively you could
also use „more of...“ and
Tasks & next steps
flip with a question
or statement („This
workshop was a worth
my time.*) and a scale.
Distribute dot stickers
and let participants
Assign tasks: Who will do what until when?
0pen issues: Check the „parking space“ and decide what
happens to the open issues. Do you need to schedule
another workshop? Can you prioritize the issues?
Results: Clarify how to handle the workshop results: Who
will receive the protocol? Until when? Are the results con-
Content: Are participants happy with what they achie-
ved? Did the workshop meet their expectations? Why or
Workshop facilitation: How did participants feel during
the workshop? Did they understand the methods? What did
they like best? What least? Why?
of tasks! If
you want participants’
commitment, you should
assign tasks in the
workshop and make sure
they agree to it.
The workshop is over, but your work is not quite done yet. There
are a couple of things you need to do now. Reserve some time
for this and don‘t forget it.
Make photos of any flipcharts you produced during the
workshop. A smartphone camera is all you need. Name the
files so people know what’s on them.
Think about the kind of documentation your recipients will
Don’t wait too
long with any
promised the parti-
cipants. Send out the
protocol quickly and
don’t forget to track
the progress on any
Write down your learnings for future workshops – even if
the workshop went well you should reflect upon your skills
as a facilitator. It always helps to review the workshops with
a co-facilitator or participant to see, through someone
else‘s experience, what went well and what still needs to be
tweaked on the next go around.
If they just want to be informed, sharing the flipchart
photos is enough.
If they need to make a presentation, you might want
to digitalize the workshop results in another format
like Excel, Word or PowerPoint etc. Ask early on if there
is a desired template you should be using for docu-
Preserving what is said and developed during the workshop is
a crucial task of the facilitator. Flip chart, Post-it notes and a
felt marker help you do this.
Visualizing is great for different reasons. It makes sure eve-
ryone talks about the same thing and you can refer to
things during the workshop.
Additionally, all results being visible helps participants to
see how much they have already achieved.
You can prepare these flips in advance:
Post-it notes are a facilitator’s best friend. They allow
you to be flexible in the workshop, to cluster statements
or ideas, and to add, change or structure participant’s
For all those reasons, we at Stimmt use Post-its extensively.
As the workshop goes on, you should document these
things with Post-its and flipchart:
Things to visualize
great. They are
if you use them right.
First: Use light colours
- your writing on the
dark ones isn‘t as legible.
Second: Use large enough
felt tip pens. Third:
Make sure Post-its
don’t overlap - this is
important if you make a
we have deve-
loped a colour
code for our Post-
its. This makes it very
easy to create a visual
structure on our flips
- which you can still un-
derstand if you look at
them months later.
Assignments for participants
Rules / expectations
Important statements of participants
Any results that are produced in the workshop
Any decisions that are made
A picture says more than thousand words - this also applies in workshops.
Why use a lot of text to describe something you could say with a simple dra-
wing? Ideas or complex concepts can often be understood more easily if they
are visualized. The following building blocks will get you started:
Talking Running Thinking My iPhone! Look!
Internet Tablet &
To avoid it: Make a test run. Think about what could go wrong
before the workshop and of possible ways out. Have a „plan B.“
To solve it: Take a break to gain clarity. Consult the group with
a “Go-around” and ask them what they think of the situation and
how they would like to go on. Or think of an analogous situation
and ask people how they would solve it.
To avoid it: Keep track of time, plan generously, decide which
agenda items are optional. Ask more experienced workshop pl-
anners to give feedback on your agenda.
To solve it: Make a break to restructure the workshop. Propose
the new structure and get the participants‘ consent – they need
to know what can realistically be done in the time that is left.
To avoid it: Test equipment in advance. Inquire about who you
can contact in an emergency. Have at least one print out ready
so you can start drawing on a whiteboard.
To solve it: Make a break and fix the problem. Don’t be asha-
med to ask for help.
To avoid it: Don’t use methods that you suspect might not be
well-received by the participants (for example because they are
too fancy, too rigid,...).
To solve it: Never discuss methods – those are your responsibility.
Participants have to accept this.
To avoid it: Mingle with participants before the workshop and
try to capture their mood. Set clear expectations about the kind
of atmosphere you wish to have.
To solve it: Allow the participant to share his experience and
demonstrate his competence. Ask him to find the positive aspects
or constructive alternatives. Never react to personal attacks in
the group. Make a break and address the participant alone to
figure out what you can do to solve the situation. „It seems to me
that you don‘t like the workshop. What can I do to change that?“
To avoid it: Get to know people in advance. For group works
assign a skilled facilitator to the group with the alpha leader.
To solve it: Split the participants up into small groups or use
methods such as “Go-around” or a silent “Brainstorming” to ensure
everyone in the group gets a turn to participate. Give the alpha
leader a task that meets his alpha demands.
To avoid it: Call participants in advance to remind them of the
homework. Ask them to deliver the homework some time before the
workshop. This gives you time to react. If they have to present
something in the workshop: put their names on the agenda.
To solve it: Make time to do the task now – and communicate the
consequences it has for the workshop schedule.
To avoid it: Set clear expectations about distracting devices
or side chats. Schedule and communicate enough breaks during
which participants can check mails. Avoid long presentations.
To solve it: Ask side-chatters to share the interesting issues they
are surely talking about with the group. For other distractions,
voice your irritation: „I notice that you aren‘t paying attention
right now – what can I do to make it interesting for you?“ Consider
if it’s maybe just time for a break or a little warm-up exercise.
To avoid it: Use a silent method such as writing down ideas or
thoughts on Post-it notes and collecting them without discussion.
To solve it: Stop discussions that lead nowhere and put the issue
on the parking space. If participants talk too much, ask them to
summarize their point or to write it down on a Post-it. If this doesn’t
help, make a break and ask the babbling person to hang back
To avoid it: Make a little “braindump” at the beginning where
you write the ideas participants already have on a flip. This way
they know their ideas are valued and they can fully engage in
the workshop with a clear mind.
To solve it: Stop the idea generation to make a “braindump”
Help! I‘m stuck! I
have no idea how
to go on!
0h - typical
case of alpha
didn‘t do their
Argh! How can I
make them pay
Blah, blah - this
They just stick
with their old
0h no! Time
is running out!
Crap - the
pants don‘t like
Puh, this par-
ticipant is so
How Stimmt workshops had an effect... Strategy
Customer experience bootcamp
Enthused 21 senior managers in London with custo-
Developed 4 solid personas in a small team at 30
Customer journey innovation
Revolutionized a process during 3 days in the
Workshop customer focus
Conveyed the concept of human centered design to
100 people in 3 hours.
Future of e-banking
12 people filled the innovation pipeline with 165 ideas
in 3 days.
New counselling process
Developed a completely new and simplified
counselling process in 1 day.
Customer centric strategy
Worked out a new strategy with the management in 8
Branch of the future
15 people created a vision for the bank branch of the
future in 2 days.
Estimated amount of workshops since 1998: 1500
Since 1998, we support our clients to differentiate themselves through positive
customer experience. We develop strategies, build concepts for interactions
and help transforming organizations.
developed a shared vision,
found the best strategic option
created innovative processes,
products oder services
committed organization to customer focus,
integrated customer focus in value chain
Stimmt AG | Customer experience consultants | Zürich | www.stimmt.ch | firstname.lastname@example.org